UN report says malware built by NSO Group ‘most likely’ used in Bezos phone hack

TechCrunch | 1/22/2020 | Staff
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A new United Nations report says a mobile hacking tool built by mobile spyware maker, the NSO Group, was “most likely” used to hack into the Amazon founder Jeff Bezos’ phone.

The report, published by U.N. human rights experts on Wednesday, said the Israeli-based spyware maker likely used its Pegasus mobile spyware to exfiltrate gigabytes of data from Bezos’ phone in May 2018, about six months after the Saudi government first obtained the spyware.

Day - Reports - Report - Amazon - Founder

It comes a day after reports emerged, citing a forensics report commissioned by the Amazon founder, that the malware was delivered from a number belonging to Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman. The report said it was “highly probable” that the phone hack was triggered by a malicious video sent over WhatsApp to Bezos’ phone.

Within hours, large amounts of data on Bezos’ phone had been exfiltrated.

NSO - Group - Statement - Technology - Instance

NSO Group said in a statement that its technology “was not used in this instance,” saying its technology “cannot be used on U.S. phone numbers.” The company said any suggestion otherwise was “defamatory” and threatened legal action.

But the report left open the possibility that technology developed by another mobile spyware maker may have been used.

UN - Experts - Agnes - Callamard - Davie

U.N. experts Agnes Callamard and Davie Kaye, who authored the report, said the breach of Bezos’ phone was part of “a pattern of targeted surveillance of perceived opponents and those of broader strategic importance to the Saudi authorities.”

The Saudi government has rejected the claims, calling them “absurd.”

Forensics - Experts - Bezos - Phone - National

Forensics experts are said to have began looking at Bezos’ phone after he accused the National Enquirer of blackmail last year. In a tell-all Medium post, Bezos described how he was targeted by the tabloid,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: TechCrunch
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